When I think about how I’m doing at the moment, I often scroll back to whatever I was doing a year ago and I try to see how far I’ve come. This time, last year, I was actively a part of Inktober, and I followed through with the prompts for all 31 days. This year, however, I feel very distant from art, at least, at this very moment. I know I’ll get back to it and come up with something beautiful when I do, but that doesn’t stop me from feeling as though I am somehow lacking. My current work in progress has been left untouched for the last two weeks now and I don’t know when I am going to get back to it, considering I have a couple of commissioned works queued up.
The thing about looking back is that you’re either going to get very happy or very, very sad about how things are going for you. This year, it’s different. Everyone is going through the same thing, more or less, and the lack of inspiration is hitting all of us pretty badly. That isn’t stopping any of us from trying to create something, though. To some of us, the urge to work on something new comes very naturally. To me, it comes in the form of writing new things every day, trying to find a different perspective to the same old thing, trying to find something to write about based on the conversations I have with the people in my life, etc. To others, it may come in the form of baking, cooking, Netflix marathons and whatnot.
I asked my friend, today, what keeps her motivated, and she told me that she scrolls back on her art page and sees how far she has come, too. I think the need to look back every now and then to see how far we have come since we started comes with being an artist of some kind. There’s a very strange kind of humility in actually looking at how your work used to be in the past. You might not show it off as proudly as you once did, but you’d still be proud of it because it is a reminder of how much you have progressed since the day you started, and that counts for a lot! We all have this need to know whether we have made it further because it seems like some sort of a benchmark for progress. But the truth is that you never know what’s going to hit you at any given point in time. Life just is unpredictable like that.
So, the next time you have this overwhelming need to compare your current conditions to where you were at this time, last year, remember that while it may be healthy in moderation, it’s super unhealthy to let your self-esteem take a hit because of this. Things happen. People face setbacks. They get up and get back in the game, too. That’s just how things are sometimes and that is okay! So consider this a reminder to be kinder to yourself today.
You’re doing great!
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